Sally’s branch’s ATMs are down and two tellers called in sick. Customers are lined up around the block waiting on the tellers who did come into work. Every chair in Sally’s lobby is occupied by customers waiting to see a banker – all of whom have customers in their offices. It’s lunch time. Sally knows if she closes a teller window or a banker leaves to take lunch, the customers might revolt. Her heart is pounding. She feels a migraine coming on. Her stress level is rising.
Unfortunately, the scene described is all too familiar in the retail banking world and one you’ve experienced all too often. Anyone in this situation would feel stressed. It’s how you cope with that stress that will determine whether you crack under the pressure or lead your staff through this trying time. Here are some hacks for handling stress in the moment and increasing your resiliency to cope with stressful situations no matter when or where they arise.
Learn To Say “No”
Many of us, especially overachievers, have a hard time saying “no.” We think it’s a sign of weakness. In reality, saying “no” when necessary makes us more productive and effective. How? Saying “no” let’s us focus on the priorities at hand instead of worrying about how to get all the work done.
Know your limits and stick them. Taking on more than you can handle is a surefire recipe for disaster. Set priorities. Decide what must get done and what can wait. Say “no” to new tasks if they will overextend you.
Attend a time management class or read some books or articles about time management strategies. Being able to plan ahead and better manage your time will allow you to take on more without overextending yourself or having to say “no.”
Choose Your Attitude
You’ve heard the expression, “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” Apply it in stressful situations. Be positive and think, “I’ve got this. Here’s my moment to shine. I can deal with this situation.”
Remember that many things in life are beyond your control. There was no way for Sally to know that two tellers were going to call in sick and that so many customers were going to visit the branch at the same time. In these stressful situations, focus on the things you can control and your actions in the face of them. Work with the customers waiting and see what you can do to help. Ensure those waiting in the teller line have proper ID and determine whether they even need to wait for a teller.
Avoid the Perfectionism Trap
Those who demand perfection in their own performance are setting themselves up for failure. Set reasonable standards for yourself and accept that “good enough” is the best result you’re going to get at times. Focus your time and energy on those things that matter in the long run and where the result must be great or near perfection.
We all know people that remain calm and focused no matter what’s happening around them. They’re absolutely resilient in stressful situations. So how do we develop resiliency and become like them?
- Review what you’ve accomplished at the end of the day – not what you’ve been unable to do.
- Avoid dwelling on problems. Seek help from a qualified mental health professional if these are long-term personal or family problems.
- Exercise regularly. Even 30 minutes of gentle walking every day can boost your mood and reduce your stress.
- Take breaks. Believe it or not a short, refreshing break can re-energize you and allow you to cope with the stresses of the rest of your day.
Stress is natural and it’s just your body’s way of responding to urgent demands, but remember that you are in control, and by coping effectively you can set a good example for your staff.
Another angle would be to ask yourself this: Is it Time to Take a Hard Look at Soft Skills Training? Level up your skills with great training and boost confidence to get through stressful times. Contact us to learn more.